Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Bigfoot Barleywine-Style AleBigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale
7,593 Ratings
Bigfoot Barleywine-Style AleBigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bigfoot is a beast of a beer, brimming with bold flavors of bittersweet malt and heaps of aggressive whole-cone Pacific Northwest hops. First introduced in the winter of 1983, Bigfoot is a cult-classic beer brewed in the barleywine style, meaning a strong, robust, bruiser of a beer with the refined intensity of a wine. Bigfoot is prized by beer collectors for its supreme cellarability. Under the proper conditions, it can age like a fine wine, developing new flavors and character as it matures in the bottle. Each new release or “expedition” is vintage dated. Collect your own and see the flavors develop and progress.

Added by kbub6f on 02-06-1998

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,593 |  Reviews: 3,094
Photo of Brabander
3.41/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this bottle in a trade with SevenB. Thanks for this beer Troy!

Poured in my Struise glass the beer looks very nice, dark with a creamy head. It's a pity that the head disappears after a while.

I smell mostly the barrel in which the beer was lagered. You can actually smell the oak and some whiskey or sherry. Strong smell, a bit too much for me.

The first taste was OK, not my favourite taste but for this type OK. The rest stays average for me. It's an interesting beer but not more than that. Glad that i tasted it.

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Photo of Freethyhops
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a- a bright amber with some deep red tones. a great amount of off-white/cream colored head that shows great retention and leaving heavy lacing. nice clarity on this one, too. really spot on.

s- a rich caramel malt sweetness. a fairly heavy hop influence with some some floral/earthy and slighly citric tones. a bit or breadiness.

t- a very intense mix of rich malt sweetness and a very high level of bitterness. some caramel and fairly heavy breadiness. some big flavors that balance each other exceptionally well. the finish ends slighlty dry with a bit of alcohol in the finish.

m- thick, chewy stuff. a moderate carbonation suits well. the slightest amount of alcohol warming.

d- I can never drink much of any barleywine, so to say I could probably have 2 bottles of this is fairly high praise. at an amazing price point it's a great one to keep around.

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Photo of haddon
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a dirty brown with a good amount of carbonation bubbles. nice, frothy egg-white head that lingers. good lacing down the glass

to me, the nose is mostly sweet malts: caramel, brown sugar, figs...

very sweet and malty on the palate. there is a hoppy bitterness on the finish... really exentuates as the beer warms

full body beer with good carbonation

at 9.6%, fairly drinkable. I had this beer some time back but am glad I waited to review. this beer definitely gets better with age.

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Photo of
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Local Option, Chicago
2008 vintage served in a tulip glass.

This is the first aged barleywine I've had, and drinking it was an eye-opening experience. I don't think I will ever drink a young barleywine again.

Appearance was thick and murky with a head that wouldn't go away. Very nice.

Smells of dark fruits, a little bit of pine coming from the hops, and a little bit of coca-cola. Taste is mostly figs, dates and coke. Bitterness is in perfect proportion. Mouthfeel was excellent - the beer was almost as creamy as the head.

Drinkability is excellent given the Abv. I think that one of these is plenty though.

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Photo of aepb1
3.45/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A- Dark amber with a red/tan head (quite a large head)

S- Malts and floral hops

T- Very hoppy from the get go through the finish with a little caramel malts near the end as well

M- Medium bodied, creamy and good balance of carbonation

D- An assault of hops from the beginning makes this only marginally drinkable repeatedly

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Photo of parris
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Frothy two finger, light brown head. Deep amber color with aggressive carbonation.

Metallic aroma, pine notes. I'd guess west coast hops, but I'd probably be wrong.

This kind of tastes a bit between a barley wine and pale ale. The flavors aren't so much balanced as you taste the barley wine up front, then it finishes like a pale. Pretty good, pretty crisp too.

Pretty thick, big bodied.

I found this beer on a "most harmful drinks in America" blog, it has 330 calories and 32 carbs. If I didn't know that 2 of these has as much calories as a good dinner, I'd probably give it a better drinkability rating, but what I know can't be undone.

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Photo of 33nickadams
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a- Nice reddish color, nice head and lacing

s- Floral and sweet

t- a lot going on, a nice bite at the end of the taste

m- good mouthfeel, a little bitter

d- I bought a six pack, but will only probably have a couple tonight

I have wanted to try this beer for 10 years and I am not disappointed. It reminds me of my favorite beer, 2 hearted.

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Photo of Spiekerbox
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 edition

A- Reddish brown color pours with a relatively large off-white head that recedes rather quickly.

S- Sweet malty scent with hops

T- Complex, has a toasted malt backbone with sweeter malts and a variety of hop flavors working their way in. Noticeable alcohol presence that does not negatively effect the taste.

M- decent carbonation and a rather smooth and sticky mouthfeel. Medium body that seemed lighter than I had expected though still not a light beer in any way.

D- Quite easy to drink given how big it is, would maybe drink 2 in a night at the most but just one today is good enough for me. Enjoyable experience to drink.

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Photo of jpittman80
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 version.

A - Pours dark, slightly hazy brown with a finger of off-white head that lasts with some lacing.

S - Citrus and piney hops, caramel malts. Slight alcohol.

T - Amazingly complex. The perfect blend of citrus, pine, roasted malts, and caramel. Some alcohol.

M - Good medium body with a decent amount of carbonation. Good bit of alcohol burn in the throat.

D - For a beer this big and flavorful, you really shouldn't go with more than one. That being said, it's not hard to polish one off!

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Photo of Imsothirsty
3.96/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010, purchased on Jan 20 2010. So 5 months in the cellar

Pours medium brown just a tinge of red. With a half finger tan head.

Nose smells first like yeast, then syrupy malt, then just a little fresh floral hop.

Taste is solid brown sugar malty, a little spice. There is another familiar flavor that I can't put my finger on, but its got a little bitterness and a warming finish.

Medium heavy body with light carbonation, and a pretty strong warming.

Overall its a solid beer, the alcohol comes through pretty strong though and in my opinion its really lacking in hops. Nothing super special to bring me back for more.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance -- Pours a translucent ruby red with an abundance of stiff tan head. Lacing is abundant and rocky.

Smell -- An abundance of caramel and butterscotch with some floral hop aroma and some resin. Some alcohol is present in the nose, as to be expected.

Taste -- Very hop forward from the onset, then a lot of dark roastiness and caramel eek out of the wall of resin. Finish is hoppy and asserive with a fair amount of caramel and burnt roast flavors, as well as some alcohol bite.

Mouthfeel -- full-bodied, chewy, and with more carbonation than I am used to with for the style, but somehow it suits this beer quite well.

Drinkability -- This is a whole lot of beer in every way possible. What I really enjoyed about this beer was that even with 90 IBUs it still hits a lot of those prototypical malty, unctuous barleywine notes that makes them so satisfying. The higher carbonation and hop assertiveness really adds to the drinkability for me, as it prevents all of that sweet maltiness from becoming cloying. It's delightful, and absolutely worthy of its reputation.

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Photo of Bizz88
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This 2010 brew poured a nice two finger off white head over a dark amber liquid with lots of sticky lacing. Aromas of hops and sweet carmel malts with slight citrus hints. Hoppy citrus malts on the tongue with a light grapefruit rind finish. A bitter sweet infusion. Medium bodied creaminess with light carbonation. An awesome brew that would probably do even better with a little ageing time. Very drinkable.

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Photo of BB1313
3.84/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured 12 oz bottle from 2010 vintage into standard pint glass. Pours a nice dark brownish orange, w/ a little haze. Nice head that disappears somewhat quick and nice lacing. Smells of sweet malt and hops. It's a very bitter brew, unbalanced in my eyes. This is a straight up hop bomb. I do wish it was a little sweeter. Feels pretty smooth and the drinkability is good considering the high gravity of this brew.

This is a solid brew, but not my favorite that Sierra Nevada has to offer.

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Photo of kwjd
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010. Pours a deep amber colour with off-white head that quickly dissipates and leaves no lacing. Starts off with a huge hop smell, but also has an extreme sweetness to it. The taste has tons of sweet caramel flavour, with some hop bitterness to balance it out. A bit undercarbonated, but that makes it very smooth. Great beer.

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Photo of TrippnFiasco
4.51/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from (2010) bottle into dogfish head snifter. pours gorgeous dark cherry red/mahogany. Two-finger caramel-color head. Very thick, full-bodied foam that slowly dissipates, leaving great lacing.

S: Bit of a sweetness, caramel on the back end. Actually not as strong as I was expecting. Mild malt and hops.

T: Fantastic. Alcohol only comes through just enough to add to the flavor. It has a delicious, well rounded sweetness (cherry and plum), that finishes with a bit of a bite from the hops and leaves a nice roasted maltiness that lingers on the palate for quite a while.

M: Very smooth, medium-heavy body. Very mild carbonation.

D: Delicious, but probably wouldn't recommend more than two unless you plan on a long evening.

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Photo of velmalikevelvet
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage oured from a 12-oz bottle into chilled mug.

Gorgeous red color, with a small (~1/4 in), quickly dissipated buff head and nice lacing. Nice perfumy nose that speaks to the toffee flavors to come. Not too spicy, not too malty, with more hops than other barleywines I've had. Somewhat thin in the mouth, which I like (not so syrupy), but it lingers.

This is the only barleywine style beer that I've found drinkable. I look forward to the new vintage every year, & I've learned (the hard way) to heed the "sipper" suggestion.

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Photo of stakem
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken on 4/22/10.

Vintage 2004 on tap at the Buckeye beer engine in Cleveland, Oh. Served initially way too cold in a snifter. Pours a clear amber color with a creamy finger of tanned head. Solid retension and a wall of lace clings to the glass. Nose is a great malty monster which includes a combo of sweetness from the malt and floral hops. Taste is quite bitter from the hops with an oily resine-like feel. Body of this beer is medium with a very mild level of carbonation. The alcohol becomes quite pronounced as it warms. Malty sweetness provides a solid backing but doesn't overtake the oily hop bitterness that lingers in the mouth. Some dark carmelized sugars, a bit like molasses, are left combating the alcohol and hops. Overall well done.

I've had this brew a number of times and ways ranging from as fresh as only a couple of weeks in the bottle to a vintage on draft that was 16 years old. This is a remarkable beer that can really stand up to aging and seemingly the older it is the better it gets. A wonderful display of how malt character can develope and hops can fade. This vintage being reviewed was surprisingly still hoppy and could have easily be kept good for several more years.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
3.2/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into Duvel tulip.

A- Pours a deep cherry red with a big two finger head that sticks around for a long while and leaves some decent lacing on the side of the glass.

S- At first whiff, I get a big hint of funk and cinnamon. The more it warms, the more the dark fruits come out but so does the alcohol. I was expecting a little more out of this one. Hard to really pick anything else up.

T- This is unlike any barleywine I have had. There is a big spice presence combined with malt and something else I can't put my finger on. Maybe a little pumpkin.

M- Medium bodied with a very sprite like carbonation. Almost stings the tongue. A little warming from the alcohol and a spiciness on the back of the throat. A little thin for my liking in barleywines.

D- The alcohol is pretty well hidden but I see this beer going in a bunch of different directions and makes it seem as though they couldn't decide on a single purpose. I may have to revisit this beer with some age on it or make sure I didn't have a bad bottle.

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Photo of liquidcraft
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010. Rich copper color with noticeable carbonation. Fragrant hops balanced between pine and citrus with a sweet malt background.

Nice hop bite, sweeter malts and hints of honey with alcohol at the tail end. The hops make this one of the more bitter barleywines I've had lately, but it still packs a distinct sweetness. The viscosity coats the mouth in a sweet, sticky way. Got a little boozy as I finished the glass, easy to drink one, two would be another story. I'm a fan of the beer's value though, and overall thought it was pretty good. Have also heard its great after year in the basement.

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Photo of DrewHodges
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 5/6/10 tasting; bottle poured to German stange.

A--dark copper brown, light foamy irregular head, incredible lacing

S--lots of citrus hops aroma and some honey

T--bitter hops and sweet malt taste, really sweet as it warmed, candy sugar and caramel

M--a little sticky and cloying mouthfeel and a little high on the carbonation

D--wouldn't drink a 2nd back-to-back, but this will be nice to enjoy on occasion

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 issue. Served in a snifter. Bottle was left out of the fridge 20 min. before opening.

The head slowly billowed up out of the pour, lingered momentarily to peer around, and sedately settled back down, resting at around a 1/4 inch for awhile thereafter. Gleaming, ruby-brown, vinous shade. Light passing through gave it a plump, fruity brightness.

Piney hops jet out through the nose. Lightly toasty with hints of malted milk ball and black cherry jam. The body was somewhat smooth, thinned-out syrupy sweet, and of moderate maltiness. The hops are surely the centerpiece to the flavor and finish - a tiny tad over the top for an American barleywine.

The alcohol was a little too present in the nose, taste, and finish. There's other barleywines I've had, namely Victory's Old Horizontal, for one, that are more well-balanced, hiding the alcohol better while packing an even bigger punch. That said, Bigfoot is still dangerously sessionable, and the potent hop character sets it apart from the rest of the pack.

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Photo of longbongsilver
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Liked their IPA, figured what the hell. Happens to be my first barleywine ever as well. Pours a blurry rust orange, 2 inches of thick stubborn head (doesn't go away on its own). Gives off a smell somewhere between pear & lemon.

First swig takes out the rest of the head, flavor matches the smell plus just enough spicy bitterness to cut through. Relatively thin on the way down, though considering the sweetness on the back end that isn't bad.

Considering it's 9.6, the character of this is a shock. The ABV says sipper, but the flavor suggests having a 2nd or even 3rd would be acceptable. Beers like this are why you either know moderation or know the floor...

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Photo of Kaiser777
4.48/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Off to Nevada we call it Serria Nevada and where hunting Bigfoot!

A- Volcano of foam with a light brown tint to it that is to lovely for words, and the way the foam coats the glass is like soap coating a cherry red 57' Chevy, like we say where I'm from off the hook, and the almost chocolate color of the beer with a symphony of bubbles that is beautiful to the eye.

S- The smell is of the best barley's, hops, and chocolate that is beyond a masterpiece.

T- Is a gift to the taste buds it's called a barley wine for a reason, it has a beautiful mixture of barley, hops, malt, and chocolate, if I meet a person that doesn't like this beer they must be from another world, it might be one of the best tasting beers I have ever had.

MF- Coats the mouth and stays there for a while that I love and appreciate with a passion that is un explainable.

D- This is very hard for the fact the longer it ages the better it is, so when you buy a six pack you can let it set for five years which is hard to do because the beer even in it's first years is above and beyond, and I fell in love with Serria Nevada when I first tasted there pal ale, and when I tasted the Bigfoot I was in beer extasy, so to all my brew masters in Cali that helped create this masterpiece much love ta ya, west side till we die!

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Photo of dasenebler
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear reddish mahogany with a towering light tan head. Retention is excellent, with textbook layers of lace.

Aroma is of booze, molasses and overripe fruit.

Flavor is huge and bold, though not as insane as some barleywines. I love the enormous malt backbone-- it's sweet, luscious and thick. The hop bitterness is also huge and actually overcompensates, making this a very hop-forward barleywine, at least when fresh. The first thing I noticed was the piney American hop character of this beer. Though, there is a tea-like flavor in the aftertaste that I don't love. The carbonation is ample, but doesn't get in the way of the quaff. This beer leaves a hairy, chewy and lupulin loaded prehistoric footprint on your palate... I can see where it gets its name.

Delicious barleywine and something I will seek out in the future.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage. This bottle may be off since the beer was only filled up to the top of the label. It didn't taste oxidized or flat, so I am reviewing it.

Pours a reddish-amber color with a white head. The aroma is brown sugar, alcohol and caramel malt. Pretty basic barleywine aroma. The flavor is brown sugar, toffee and piney and citrus hops. Even with the big hop flavor, the bitterness is not too high. The alcohol is definitely detectable and is front and center in the flavor. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation

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Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 7,593 ratings